A company that publishes reading textbooks and materials used for language arts sponsored a penmanship contest. The contest winner was Annie Clark, a little 7-year-old girl who was born without any hands. Along with the award, Annie won $1000.
The company, Zaner-Bloser Inc., held its first Nicholas Maxim Award contest and presented Annie with her prize at the Wilson Christian Academy in West Mifflin, PA. The award was created in honor of Nicholas, a Maine fifth grade student born without hands or lower arms, who entered last year’s penmanship contest. The company was so inspired by his efforts that they decided to create a category for students with disabilities.
Following the ceremony, Annie showed off her skills by giving a demonstration on her writing technique, using her forearms to hold the pencil. Annie’s family couldn’t be prouder. Her mom hopes the prize will show Annie she can do anything she puts her mind to.
Annie is one of 9 children in the Clark household. Tom and Mary Ellen Clark have three biological children and have adopted six kids – all from China and four of them with disabilities that affect their limbs including Annie.
Did the Clarks set out to adopt so many kids with special needs? Mary Ellen says that wasn’t their plan. Every time they were ready to adopt, a child with disabilities was presented to them. She feels this is the family that God meant for them to have.
It must be a loving and nurturing environment indeed. Annie has mastered things like swimming, getting dressed, painting, drawing and can even open a can of soda without assistance. Like most kids her age, she can use her iPod Touch and a computer unaided. Her dream is to one day write books about animals.
Her dad, Tom, who owns a car dealership, calls her amazing. He thinks it’s unfortunate that society judges people by their appearance because he has seen firsthand that these kids have talents and abilities that far surpass their limitations. If only the rest of the world saw things that way too.